Our government says they own 60% of General Motors. 60% of nothing is still nothing. The company is going to keep Cadillac and get rid of Pontiac. I hate to say it, but Cadillac is an “Old Farts,” car. 50 years ago you were somebody if you had a Cadillac. Today, a Lexus, Beamer or a Mercedes will project an aura of status. You know damn well grandpa didn’t drive one of those! In the present economy, shouldn't the focus of production be more on utilitarian rather than luxury type cars?
Now the government wants GM to produce electric cars and “increase car mileage.” Electric cars sound great, but maybe in another 50 years they might be economically feasible. Now, they deliver too little and are not as cost effective as a regular gas guzzler. On paper, it's a no brainer, in the real world, they just aren't practical. Plus, Congress’s requirement for better gas mileage has more to do with car production than more efficient engines. The car manufacture mileage ratings are a reflection of the average miles per gallon for all cars produced by the company. So to increase gas mileage, you produce more smaller cars than larger ones.
When we examine what is happening to GM, it is very apparent that they have made extremely poor business decisions since the early 1960’s. The American car companies have always had an attitude problem. It’s kind of like Henry Ford’s comment, “Tell the consumer, he can have any color car he wants, as long as it’s black.” The leaders in innovation have come from the foreign car manufacturers, and they have earned their way into our country by being better.
In Southern California, massive traffic jams on are not an indication that we need more freeways. If we have to live with traffic jams like this, why can’t we have public restrooms every 10 miles on the freeway? (There are NONE in all of LA) The idea that better mass transit would lead to less cars on the highway never seems to be an obvious solution.
Here is an experience of mine that relates to mass transportation. Last year I was flying from San Diego to Washington DC. I got to Chicago and the connecting flight was canceled (talk about being irritated). I was able to book a flight into Baltimore MD. I was told by the ticket agent that it was a cinch to get to O’Hara in DC to recover my luggage (he stretched the truth a bit). From the Baltimore airport (the people there were extremely helpful), I took a 17 mile bus ride to the beginning of the Washington DC subway. The whole way on the bus, I’m thinking “Riding a subway late at night in Washington DC, I have to be nuts!” When I stepped into that subway station, I felt like a hick from the boonies. The size and grandeur of what they have built is mind boggling. This transit system got me to O’Hara in less than an hour; I picked up my baggage and my rental car and was on my way. As for sights to see in DC, I recommend the subway. The rest of the country needs a mass transit system on this level.
So with all of these car companies going broke, who in Congress is going to stand up and push for mass transit? --No one. GM has got to sell some vehicles, lots of them.
If we need to spend a lot of money to stimulate the economy, wouldn’t mass transportation be the spot to place it? Let GM die. They never had our best interests as a nation at heart. They wanted you buy a new vehicle every two years and keep them in business. The car companies from the 1930’s on, were responsible for the destruction of mass transit in the United States, “Everyone should own their own private vehicle.”
The only trouble with the government bailout plan for GM, is that how do you finance a car without a job? And if you do have a job, do you really need a new car? And of course it follows, if you don’t need a new car, then you don’t really need mass transit either. It’s amazing how things just seem to work out just right--go figure!